Westborough, Grafton to seek other sites for regional dispatch center

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Westborough, Grafton to seek other sites for regional dispatch center
A view of Hocomonco Pond from the sky. Currently, the Metrowest Regional Emergency Communication Center District is proposed for Hocomonco Pond. (Photo/Tami White)

WESTBOROUGH – The Metrowest Regional Emergency Communication Center District may not be at Hocomonco Pond after all.

During the Grafton Select Board’s meeting on Jan. 9, Town Administrator Evan Brassard said that officials in Westborough and Grafton are exploring alternate sites in both communities.

Hocomonco was a former Superfund site, and, according to Brassard, there’s a risk of contamination. He said the Environmental Protection Agency is requesting a secondary study, “which could take up to two years.”

Should the study be enacted, it would cause a delay in building the center.

“It’s a little bit of a bummer. It’s a really good site,” said Brassard. “I’m confident we’re going to work this out.”

The south side of Hocomonco Pond, off Otis Street, was approved for use by the Westborough Select Board in November 2022. The site includes a building that was constructed in the 1980s, when the pond was a Superfund site.

The building was closed in 2019.

RELATED CONTENT: Former Superfund site may house regional dispatch center

Westborough Fire Chief Patrick Purcell has said the building would be renovated using state 911 development grant funds. The center would include a new floor, lighting, a training room and kitchenette.

The state will not only pay for the renovations, but for operating costs for the first three years. After that, the costs would be shared by participating communities.

The center would cover calls from Grafton and Westborough, and it will be staffed by personnel from both communities.

Two other communities — Hopkinton and Southborough — decided not to join.

Brassard will provide an update to town officials before the end of the month.

The Westborough Select Board will discuss the center at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

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